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Daily sMiles

August 20, 2013 Fido, Fitness 2 Comments

This past weekend was the final training weekend before the Santa Barbara Triathlon. I put together a “mock tri” for myself. Since I’ve been making it up as I go training-wise this year, I figured it might be good to put all three sports together again for the first time since my last race on June 16.

The family unit went over to Coyote Point for an open water swim early on Sunday morning. The skies were still cloudy and the temperature gauge registered 60*F outside. Even the water was warmer than that…

Miles likes to swim, and loves to swim with us. I went out for my swim while Greg stayed on the shore and threw the ball (actually, two balls) for him. I finished my 1 mile swim and then Greg went out for his. Miles was very vigilant, watching the splashing going on and keeping tabs on him at all times. I’d throw the balls and he would fetch them, only to come back to shore and look for Greg again. 

We finished our swims, then I went out for a 17-mile bike ride + 3 mile run. It went pretty well, all in all. There’s nothing I can do about it now, so I guess that’s good. :)

We race on Saturday. It’s a 1 mile swim + 34 mile bike + 10 mile run. Between my knee and generally being a poor off-the-bike runner, I’m worried about the run. Regardless of my results, it’s going to be a great weekend with friends, racing in a beautiful location. I’ll be back with the details!

Summer Fun!

August 5, 2013 Fashion, Fitness, Friends, Fun 1 Comment

Long time, no talk. It would take me ages to go into detail about all the stuff I’ve been doing, so I’ll be brief and show you a bunch of pictures. Then we’ll be caught up and hopefully I can get back to more regular posts.

After Vineman Monte Rio, I traveled to Milwaukee for work. That’s right: back to the scene of Rashconsin. Luckily, I did not contract syphilis or anything like it this year. Also, I have to tell you how enjoyable it was to get in a morning run each day without the pressure of Ironman hanging over my head!

I’ll say it again, if you haven’t been to Milwaukee, it is worth going there. The city is beautiful, the people are nice, and there is more to do there than I would have ever thought.

On June 16, Greg and I competed in the Reservoir Triathlon. They changed the date on this year, but it’s the same Olympic distance event we did in June last year. We went to the race site on Saturday evening to run the dog around before settling into The Van for the evening.

I signed up on race morning and didn’t really know what to expect out of my legs. I also tried to tell myself not to expect too much out of them… Having done this race last year (4th place finish, remember?), at least I knew what to expect of the course.

Below is a picture of the swim course on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning, the entire thing was shrouded in fog. In fact, all the athletes had made our way down to the water’s edge for the race start and they delayed us by 15 minutes to give the fog more time to burn off. The race announcers kept saying, “Just swim out, following the people on paddleboards. You’ll eventually see a big buoy.”

I generally swim pretty straight and knew where I was going from last year, so this vague instruction didn’t cause me much anxiety. By the time I turned the buoy, the fog had burned off and it was a gorgeous day to race. I certainly felt my legs on the bike and wondered what I’d have left for the run. It turns out that doing Olympic distance events two weeks apart with one week of standing on a concrete floor working a trade show will actually cause fatigue. Lesson learned.

The run was a 2-loop out-and-back this year. You know how much I hate two loops. I saw Greg as I headed out on my first lap, he was about two miles out from the finish. He looked like he was suffering a bit, but still strong. It was a mental test to run past the finish line and head back out for my second loop…

Here are my splits:

Swim – 29:14
T1 – 2:12
Bike – 1:23:41
T2 – 1:23
Run – 0:53:54
TOTAL – 2:50:24

Good enough for — you guessed it — 4th place! My time from 2012 would have netted me 2nd place, but I certainly did not have that effort in me that day. This race is great because they bring in Pizza My Heart and craft beer for the after party. We took the coast route home, enjoying sunshine and beaches all afternoon.

June continued to be very busy, with a J.Hilburn conference in Las Vegas the following weekend. I learned so much and met some amazing people, which is really helping me build my business. Seeing other people be successful is a very good motivator! This conference was held at The Cosmopolitan. I am not a Vegas person, and this hotel is configured in such a way that I never had to walk through a smoke-filled casino to get to my room, the restaurants and bars, and the conference hall. For me, that’s about the only kind of win I’ll see in that city.

The Chandelier Bar is stunning

We hosted the Martz family for 4th of July, then headed to Tahoe to spend the weekend mountain biking and exploring hidden Alpine lakes. The Martz boys are 10 and 6 years old and had fun “surfing” in the lagoon.

Mountain biking is not usually my strong suit, but Jennifer talked us into a route that would be challenging enough for Greg and fun enough for her and me. She was right! The best part was that we parked at a trailhead by a lake and had the whole place to ourselves for booze & snacks after the ride.

The key to being happy was choosing to ride with platform pedals and regular shoes instead of clip-in pedals/shoes. I was able to put my foot down easily and often without the stress of being able to get it unclipped. This ride was 10 miles of challenging fun for me!

We began training again in July, this time for the Santa Barbara Triathlon on August 24. We haven’t done this race in four years and it will be good to go after it again. It’s a 1 mile swim, 34 mile ride, and 10 mile run. In addition to the regular training, I have been doing long runs every week for a month now, hoping that 10 miles is what “a normal run” feels like on race day. I’m not holding my breath on that one, but it does feel good to go that distance week after week.

Oh, and just because the picture is too adorable, here are the little ones I take care of splashing around in the sprinkler a couple of weeks ago. Summer fun!

Okay, we’re all caught up! I need to do a Van-centric post with all the updates Greg has made. I promise I’ll get to that. And even when I can’t do a full post, I’ll at least put up some pictures so you don’t forget about me. Hope your summer is going well!

Wildflower Long Course 2013

May 23, 2013 Family, Fitness 3 Comments

The Wildflower Long Course triathlon happened nearly two weeks ago. I think I’m still in denial and still trying to forgive myself for signing up again. The aftertaste that lingers in my mouth is quite bittersweet. I don’t have a lot of pictures to share and I’ll keep this brief.

SWIM: 1.2 miles = 38:09 (2012 = 33:02)
As well as my swimming had been going in the pool, my  one open water swim prior to the race proved to be slower than expected. I wanted to be optimistic going into this, but chose to be realistic. When I was sighting every ~10th breath or so and the buoys kept moving farther away, I knew I was right to be realistic.

I did try to stay “in the moment” during the swim and remind myself that this would be the most pleasant part of my day. I was in cold water, which was a welcome environment compared to the 95 degree day we all endured.

BIKE: 56 miles = 3:24:49 (2012 = 3:14)
Last year, it seemed like the bike was “no big deal.” It was harder this year. That’s either a function of me being less trained, the heat, or a combination of both.

I was again surprised at how hard the Mile 2 climb was, and saw many people walking it. My left foot started charlie-horsing at Mile 7 of the bike and finally let up around Mile 20. Right then, I knew it was a whole new ball game. As hot as it was, I told myself to drink at least two bottles of water between every aid station (which were ~45 mins apart). I did this and more, and still had no urge to pee at any point. I had no Nuun or salt tablets with me.

By the time I got to Nasty Grade (Mile 40), I was done. I wanted to quit. By the time I finished Nasty Grade, I had talked myself out of running. Seriously. I had nothing to prove — I had already done this course and had done a full Ironman. No need to prolong the misery. Right? RIGHT???

As I was riding back into the festival area, I was looking for Greg on the run course. There’s a spot where the runners travel on a trail that is adjacent to the road. Miracle of miracles, I saw him! I hollered, “G!!!! I haaaaate this!” He saw me and hollered back, “You look great, baby! I hate it, too!” He said that the runners near him laughed at our exchange, everyone hating ourselves for doing this. It was so good to see him; he was running and looked so strong.

There were only a couple of miles left back into the transition area and I thought about what I would do. If there was one aspect of training that I had actually focused on, it was the running. I had not focused on speed. I had focused solely on running hills. For the last ~30 miles, I had been talking myself out of and back into doing the run. I really really really just wanted to be done.

I thought of what I would say to Greg and Kidder, to our friends we were camping with, to YOU GUYS who read this blog. “Yeah, I quit. I just didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t even try.” That didn’t feel very good.

I pulled into the transition area and had a Really Big Decision to make: to run or not to run.

I am not a quitter. I would run.

RUN: 2:27:24 (2012 = 2:18:06)
I left the transition area with all kinds of caveats:

If I puke, I can stop.
If I cramp, I can stop.
If the apocalypse happens, I can stop.

I wanted any/all of these things to happen. I don’t pray, so I was employing every other possible tactic to give me a reason that I could forfeit (read: not quit). Last year, I walked within the first mile and adopted a run 3 minutes/walk 30 seconds plan (that did not work). This year, I RAN the first four miles. This was a huge mental boost for me!

Mile 4 is the Death March that everyone walks. It truly isn’t worth it to run it. I got to the top at Mile 5 and started running again. There had been ambulances all over the bike course and now there were rescue crews in the trails. I’m sure the heat was taking its toll and people were succumbing to heat exhaustion and dehydration.

At every aid station, I kept repeating all of the above caveats, assessing my physical self all the while. Do I feel like puking? Am I cramping? Do I see Jesus? The answer to all of these was no. Keep going…

At Mile 7 or so, there was Team Bourbon & Bacon. They were serving both. It was 95 degrees and they were frying bacon in a frying pan on a grill on one side of the trail while a teammate was holding a bottle of bourbon on the other side. I thought to myself,

“If I take a shot of bourbon, I’ll probably puke. Then I can be done.”

But alas, I was still running at this point. You might call it shuffling… but not walking. Not cramping. Not barfing. I kindly declined their offer and kept going. The next “out” was at Mile 8. Our camp was right on the other side of those bathrooms, you see. I could retire to The Van

But I was still running/shuffling. Someone was offering Coke and Twizzlers. I had both. They were delicious and sugary; I kept running. The nice lady at Mile 8.75 had orange wedges. They tasted like heaven and I thanked her profusely, as I did last year.

Another decision point that I had been contemplating came at Mile 9. I could choose to do the mentally torturous out-and-back from Mile 9-11…or I could just go back now. This becomes Mile 11. I could just be done in 2 miles. Now. Just be done. Now. But… I’d made it this far. I couldn’t QUIT now. I wasn’t cramping. I wasn’t barfing. I must keep going. What would I tell the people? How would I feel about myself? I trudged along. Walked the hills, ran the downhills and flats. I saw stars when I was “running,” knowing that it was going to be a real race to the end to not black out.

As usual, our friends were at the top of the hill at Mile 12. Martz offered me a margarita shot. I wanted to partake and laugh, but I had been near tears since Mile 10 and had no extra moisture to spare, so I took a shot of apple juice instead. I hoped I would not lose it on the mile to the finish.

FINAL: 6:44:44  (2012 = 6:15:20)

I’m really proud of myself for finishing. I had talked myself out of even starting the run halfway through the bike. That said, I’m really dejected because I actually ran more of this race than I did last year. I walked far more of the course last year, and last year’s split was faster (my average pace was almost 1 minute/mile faster last year).

I know the heat was a factor. I remarked in last year’s race report that it was 81 degrees. It was 95 degrees this year, and that absolutely makes a difference. I peed at 7:30 AM and not again until 11:30 PM — after over 400 ounces of non-alcoholic fluids taken in.

Within seconds of sitting down after finishing, every muscle in my lower body started cramping — quads, hamstrings, calves, feet. Greg got me a Nuun drink and I tried to keep moving. Putting my legs in the cold water before picking everything up from the transition area helped.

As at Ironman Canada, the Kidder family was so wonderful in spectating and keeping Miles (14-YO Kyle Kidder did the Sprint Course!). It was so delightful to finish and see so many familiar faces. All of us dreaded making the famed trip back up the hill to our campsite.

After a couple of V8s, some chocolate milk, and a lukewarm shower, I finally enjoyed a glass of well-earned wine. Let the fun really begin!

 

 

 

Weekend Pics

March 31, 2013 Family, Fido, Fitness, Friends, Fun No Comments

We went to Tahoe this weekend, likely making it the last winter trip of the season. I *finally* broke even on my Squaw Valley Season Pass and otherwise engaged in a bunch of debauchery with friends. Oh, and there was some triathlon training thrown in for good measure.

We got home at 11 PM Saturday night so we could complete our long ride/run today. Clouds looming, both of us looked at numerous weather sites for hour-by-hour forecasts and set out on our respective rides. The forecasts varied from “sprinkles in the afternoon” to “0% chance precipitation.” Both of us got caught in a cold and windy down-pour. The afternoon ended with a co-ed trip to the hot tub, so all’s well that ends well…

Here are some pics I snapped with my crappy camera phone this weekend, the only ones we have to document our Tahoe 2012-13 season.

Greg and Miles had fun playing on the jungle gym outside Le Chamois.

Off-duty Snow Makers

Jen stopped by the van for 1000 CCs of red wine after working customer service all day.

This entire mountain is usually covered in snow.

One of the three creeks Miles found to play in this weekend.

Spring skiing = flare!

I went for a run around Donner Lake Saturday morning. 8 miles of solitary bliss (at altitude)!

Relying on Goodwill

March 16, 2013 Fitness No Comments

I swam early on Tuesday morning, just as I did on Monday morning and would again on Thursday morning. And as I was finishing my 2500 yards, I remembered that I had borrowed Greg’s phone on Monday evening and hadn’t given it back to him. It was in a bag that he wouldn’t think to look in and be without it all day. This wasn’t critical for him, but definitely a nuisance — especially after he’d done me the favor in letting me borrow it.

I exited the pool at 6:50AM and rushed through showering and getting dressed, running out of the gym without even brushing my hair to get to my car where my own phone was. (I could finish getting ready at the office.) I thought that I would perhaps catch him still at home and he’d hear his phone ringing and all would be well. I dialed him 10+ times before I resigned myself that he had already left. In the end, it was no big deal that Greg didn’t have his phone that day. I apologized, he accepted.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening. I put together my Thursday swim workout and started gathering everything I needed for the morning. Only then did I realize that I was missing everything else related to the workout.  I must have left it at the gym in Tuesday’s hasty departure.

I have a mesh bag that I take with me into the pool area that carries my my goggles, ear plugs, swim cap, and Ziploc bag o’ workouts. My training plan calls for specific workouts each day (I’ve been swimming 3x/week for the past few weeks) and I write them all down and then seal them in a Ziploc bag. It’s just a great way to go back and look at the workouts, especially in the off-season or when making up a workout. I was fussing about the time I spent writing them down as much as anything. Then there’s my goggles. I have a lot of trouble getting goggles to fit and “splurged” on this $40 pair in August.

The worst of it? My swim cap. It was the cap I wore during Ironman Canada. It had the IM logo on it, and it also had the Sharpie marker with my race number (2424) on it. It was a keepsake. A memento. A talisman.

Realizing what had happened — I could picture where I left it in my rush — I just knew it would be at the front desk in Lost & Found. I arrived there yesterday morning at 5:57AM with a sub-par set of goggles, ear plugs, swim cap, and brand new Ziploc bag with the day’s workout. When I explained my plight to the front desk guy, he looked in Lost & Found…. and nothing was found. Well, besides people’s dirty water bottles, yoga mats, sweatshirts, earbuds, and weightlifting gloves.

So disappointing. Mostly about the swim cap, but also about the workouts that told stories of what I had done before. And let’s not forget my fellow gym-goers! Why wouldn’t someone turn this in? I certainly wouldn’t put someone else’s earplugs in my ears, I would not dare run swim in this pool with a very specific Ironman Canada/2424 swim cap, and the goggles are wearing out quickly.

I plan to keep checking with the front desk when I’m there over the next week or so. Maybe someone picked them up, intending to drop them at the front desk and forgot on their way out. The front desk guy wasn’t that bright (or awake?), so maybe there’s another place to check… I’m not giving up home on the goodwill of humanity just yet!

12:59:58

September 3, 2012 Favorites, Fitness, Fun 1 Comment

My gratitude to Jeff Barker for this video. His enthusiasm embodies all of the love and support I felt from everyone that day.

I can’t not cry when I watch this.

YouTube Preview Image

More stories to come, I promise.

Sleep Trumps All

August 12, 2012 Fear, Fitness, Fun No Comments

Ironman training is over. We have reached the taper. I made it! Well, I made it to the end of the training period anyway…

I signed up for an Ironman knowing what it would take to train for it and compete to my satisfaction. All of those realizations — and fears — are coming true right now. It’s hard. It requires commitment. I have a training plan and I follow it pretty much to the letter. I’ve dropped a swim workout here and a strength workout there, but I’m 98% compliant.

Here are the things I’ve learned as I move into the final couple of weeks before competing:

The human body is an amazing machine. I ask my body to do really hard things and it does them, even when I don’t want to or think I’m too tired. I have watched and felt my body become stronger and more efficient. While I have not lost or gained any weight along the way, my body does look and feel different. I trust it.

The human mind is stronger than any body will ever be. It will make or break you, so learn to be friends with it. If you tell it nice things, it will respond in kind. “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” <– Henry Ford was a smart man.

High-end gear is a nice-to-have. The will to do it and belief that you can do it is a must-have. That said, treat whatever gear you have with respect. Know how to change a flat. Clean your chain every now and again. Wash the spilled sports drink off your bike frame and don’t leave your Garmin out in the rain just because it’s waterproof.

Don’t underestimate your support system. Support comes in a lot of forms: a team you train with, your at-home people, friends and coworkers, online buddies, and yourself (in the form of positive self-talk). Figure out who is supportive of you and be up-front with them about what you need. Some days you’ll need a cheerleader. Other days, you will need someone who will listen to you bitch. You’ll always need people who believe in you and, as crazy as this whole thing is, don’t insist on reminding you of that every time you see them.

Few things are more sacred than a solid 8 hours of sleep, more if you can get it. Don’t skimp on your sleep.

The work has been done. Doing any more at this point is counter-productive. I have to believe in my training and believe in myself. Thanks to everyone who has believed in me along the way!

Here we go!

 

Epic Training Weekend

May 27, 2012 Fitness No Comments

Greg and I have adopted a new training plan to take us to Ironman and it’s hard. Not that I expected Ironman training to be anything less than that, but weekends are really a bitch. Here’s what the schedule dictated for this weekend:

Saturday: 50-70 minute open water swim (steady, yet relaxed) + 15-17 mile run (on rolling terrain)
Sunday: 90-100 mile bike (on rolling terrain) + 20 minute run (at lactate threshold)

Yeah… That’s a lot of time and a lot of miles. I’m just going to come out and own up to something right now: my right knee is giving me trouble. A lot of it. I’ve been denying it, pretending it’s no big deal, believing that daily foam roller sessions and ice would fix it. All of those things are definitely improving how I feel in a lot of areas, but not my knee. I hesitate to say I’m concerned, so let me just say that I’m quite pensive about it. (<— see how I did that?)

For Saturday’s workout, I went out and ran 15 miles. I’m in uncharted territory in terms of long distance running. Prior to Ironman training, the farthest I’d ever run was 13.3 miles (the Big Sur Half Marathon runs over — WHICH SUCKS IF YOU ARE LIVING AND DYING BY YOUR GARMIN AND THAT 0.2 MILES). So last Friday I ran 14 miles and it went very well. Admittedly, it was 14 flat miles with not a lot of wind…but it was just the mental boost I needed to believe I could run longer than a half marathon.

** For the record, I followed that 14 mile run with a mock sprint tri (.5 + 13 + 4) on Saturday and followed that with a 40-mile ride on Sunday. To reiterate, weekends are no joke on this training plan. **

The 15 mile run was on hilly trails and I was pretty unhappy during most of it, but I ran it all and finished feeling pretty good. My knee let me know about it. Despite the ice and foam roller treatment, it was very unhappy. Like, take-a-normal-step-in-normal-everyday-activity unhappiness. At this point (and cold weather), I could not talk myself into an hour-long open water swim and I couldn’t stomach that many laps on a 25-yard pool. So I compromised with myself to turn Monday’s rest day into a swim day. I iced that knee on/off every 20 minutes all afternoon and evening. I woke up in the night to go to the bathroom and winced as I put weight on it.

*sigh*

Greg and I made grand plans to ride the Highway 1 coastline this morning. The forecast was for sunny skies, but only a high of 53. I’ll take the sunshine! We had everything loaded in the van and were ready to go by 9 AM. It was spitting rain as we drove over the pass and into Half Moon Bay. It was cold. It was cloudy. Boooooo.

Token self-portrait

We set out and my mood was surprisingly good. I had all the positive vibes going, I was solving my own problems and a bunch of the world’s problems in my head the whole time. My average speed was very good and I was really happy about my commitment to being there. We were going for 80 miles at the minimum to probably 90 at the outside. We talked it over last night and the farthest either of us has gone is ~60 in the past 8 months, so we had no business doing a full century ride with so much elevation gain.

Greg dropped me pretty quickly (fine by me), though I expected to see him along the way. I passed through Davenport and made it to the 40-mile mark to turn around, knowing the return trip would be longer. What I did not expect was the IN-YOUR-FACE wind on the way back. We’ve had winds gusting up to 45 mph this week, but those were not forecasted for today. Today’s winds were supposed to be 13 mph. Forecasting fail. Also, no-fucking-wonder I had been going so fast on the way down!

There was nothing to do but keep pedaling, even as futile as it felt (and was). I looked down a few times and saw that I was going 12 mph on a flat road. Sooooo demoralizing! My 19 mph average speed quickly dropped… I got to Pescadero and texted Greg to say that I would like him to come pick me up. Seriously. I could make it to San Gregorio (about 5 miles away), but didn’t want to have to climb even more hills to make it back to the van.

 

He called when he finished (about 20 minutes later) to see if I was serious about coming to get me. I said that I was, but asked if he had finished the run. He had not. I really wanted to make it 80 miles, so told him to finish the run and then call me. I was at 73.30 miles with several hills to go. My hyper-competitiveness then kicked in, driving me to finish 6.7 miles in the just-over-20 minutes it would take him to run and call me. I would accept the ride, but only if I had finished 80 miles.

I pushed those hills and knew I’d hit 80 miles if he called me rightthissecond. WHICH I WANTED HIM TO DO. I didn’t want to ride any farther. I wanted to be done. Tears were stinging my eyes — I was out of food and water, my shoulders were burning, my legs were done.  But he didn’t call, and I knew I’d have to finish.

I pulled up at just over 84 miles + 4628 feet of climbing. He’d taken Miles on his run, and indulged him with a little romp on the beach. I certainly can’t fault him for that. And honestly, I’m glad that I dug deep and finished on my own. It was going to require a lot of effort to swallow that pill of being picked up just 4 [downhill] miles from the finish…

I had no business doing a 20-minute run on this knee, so I didn’t go. I don’t even feel guilty! I got out of my cold, wet clothes and had a little spit bath with baby wipes before putting on real clothes, new sunscreen, and a little mascara + lip gloss. We were heading to the brewery for dinner! I had some chocolate milk and V8 in the car, plus one glass of wine while we watched Miles make friends with everyone else around. My stomach did threaten a revolt as we waited for a table, but I had two glasses of soda water and things settled down.

I’m actually looking forward to stretching things out on the swim tomorrow (+ a strength workout), as long as the sunny+69* forecast holds…

What did you do this holiday weekend? 

Running In Circles

April 25, 2012 Fitness No Comments

“Okay team – we’re going to run to Casey’s and back as our warm-up today.”

These were the dreaded words from Coach Schneider on the first day of track season (and many other days following that one). The Casey’s General Store was 0.7 miles away from the high school, making it a 1.4 mile warm-up. For me, a sprinter, it was the worst part of the whole day.

Being dramatic for my HS track photo

The rest of the short distance runners’ workout was various combinations of sprinting for 100, 200, or 400 yards at a time. Maybe he’d throw an occasional 800 in there, just to make our legs really burn. Fine by me. The whole idea of “I can do anything for 2 minutes” was born in high school. What I could not do was imagine running anything over the 1.4 miles to/from Casey’s. The distance runners had to go all the way to the golf course and back. Oh, the horror!!

My, how things have changed.

After high school, I pretty much quit running unless I was being chased (which was seldom). I mean, no one goes on a 400 yard run and calls it a workout, right? I did other things to stay “active.” I played intramural volleyball for a season in college. My roommate and I would do exercises with hand weights in our dorm rooms watching Must See TV every Thursday night. I took ballroom dancing and water aerobics as my physical education electives. Not exactly an Ironman in training, eh?

Fast forward 10 years and 2000 miles. California! Greg is an avid runner and introduced me to things that helped me embrace it: trail running, looking at the San Francisco Bay or Pacific Ocean as scenery, and near-perfect weather all year long. Gradually, I built up my endurance (both mental and physical) for longer runs. These days, I won’t even go out for a run if it’s under 2 miles. And I almost never run with music.

Some things never change

Fast forward another 9 years (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!?) and what I dread now is a track workout. As part of my triathlon training, I have to do a speed workout on a local track once a week. This usually involves a half mile warm-up and then various combinations of sprinting 200, 400, or 800 yards. I despise this workout. I will run steadily for 10 miles if I have to.

Just don’t make me run in a circle as fast as I possibly can.

Actual track workout from 2 weeks ago

Not Ideal

January 8, 2012 Fitness, Friends 2 Comments

My friend Tina enjoys shopping at Nordstrom. I take that back. She loves shopping at Nordstrom. She is what one would refer to as a VERY GOOD CUSTOMER.

Tina was such a good customer in 2011, in fact, that she was invited to their “Winner’s Circle.” (I am pretty sure it isn’t called this. But what she was offered reminds me a lot of what the casinos in Las Vegas do for their VERY GOOD CUSTOMERS.)

Being part of the Winner’s Circle has its benefits. Among other things that I don’t even know about because I have spent less than $20 at Nordstrom in the past two [unemployed] years, she got a Spa Party where she and three friends could choose two custom spa treatments each, in addition to a cosmetics makeover and complimentary lunch at the Bistro Cafe.

She chose me to join her! What a treat!

Yesterday was a fabulous afternoon, to say the least. Lunch was decadent and full of laughter. And booze. We made our way to the spa just before our appointment times. I chose a hot stone massage and a facial. I’ve only had one facial in my whole life and someone else recommended that one to me, so I didn’t really know what I was ordering this time around.

I got changed into my robe and slippers and joined our other friends in the Foot Soak Area. A nice woman put a bamboo bowl under my feet and poured hot water with bath salts in, washing my sins stress away. I was then whisked away for my massage. It was blissful. I get a massage every month as part of my triathlon training/recovery. Those massages are not so much about relaxing as they are about hard work. Like, dig your elbow into the knots in my shoulder blades until I cry uncle. Hurts so good, right?

This massage was not like that. I purposely chose a massage that was not deep tissue, but long relaxing strokes with plenty of heat. It was perfect. I spent another minute in the Foot Soak Area before I was whisked to my facial. The nice esthetician got right to work, asking if I’d ever had a facial and what my current skin care regime is. Typical stuff. Then she begins to apply something wet to my face saying, “This is going to sting. On a scale from 1-10, let me know if the pain gets to be about a 6.”

What the hell did I sign up for?

As this is stinging the shit out of my face, she asks if I’ve ever had a chemical peel. Ah. That explains it. I picture Jack Nicholson falling into the vat of acid in Batman and wonder if I’ll come out of this tiny room as The Joker.

Admittedly, a bunch of girlfriends and I did a peel at home once, but I’m not sure if that counts. Too late now anyway. The 90 seconds of level-6-stinging is up. As she’s rubbing soothing stuff on my face she says, “Don’t go in the sun for a couple of weeks.”

This is not ideal. Ironman training has officially begun. I had already scheduled a 35-mile bike ride for Sunday and the weather forecast shows nothing but sunny skies all week. Just as I’m reassuring myself that I’ll make this a swim-centric week, she mentions, “And don’t go anywhere near chlorine. It’ll sting like hell.”

Also not ideal.

Finally, I gathered the courage to ask if my face is going to be red and scaly and peel off in sheets (as I’ve heard about). BY THE WAY, I HAVE A JOB INTERVIEW ON TUESDAY. Thankfully, this isn’t that kind of peel. So I’ve got that going for me.

I asked what I should do if I would find myself (ahem) in a situation where I have to (ahem) be in the sun. She said to slather on the sunscreen…otherwise I’ll get sun spots. This is probably one of the worst threats someone can make to a 37-year-old woman.

Alas, today was a gorgeous day and there was no way I was missing out on a ride with a good friend just because my face no longer has its outer most layer of epidermis. We shall ride!

About an hour before the ride, I applied my first so-thick-I-look-like-a-ghost layer of SPF 110 sunscreen (with zinc). That absorbed within a few minutes and I applied another round. I did this two more times before we left. We were out about 2 hours and I don’t think I did any permanent damage. My face looked a little red when I got back, but I think that was just from the wind and exertion. It looks and feels great now. I think I’ve dodged a bullet.

At least until tomorrow, when I’m prescribed to do an 18-mile ride. And there’s a swim scheduled for Tuesday. I guess we’ll see what hell stings like, right?